Baking With Kids: Rice Crispy Peppermint Bark

Get the kids baking this no-bake, one-bowl teacher gift.

December 18, 2014

By Lucy Baker, who lives in Irvington with her husband and toddler son and blogs at cheatingvegan.com.

When I was growing up, every year in December my mom would drive me to the candy store, where I would pick out a box of chocolates to give to my teacher on the last day of school before vacation. I remember agonizing over the different flavors of truffles — would she like caramel or raspberry? Milk chocolate or dark? It was such a sweet tradition, so I was sorry to hear (from my husband and brother, both of whom have worked as teachers) that these days they mostly get gift cards to Starbucks and Amazon.

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I’d like to suggest this crispy chocolate peppermint bark as an alternative. I know we are all super busy right now, but I promise this only takes a tiny bit more effort than picking up a gift certificate with your morning coffee. Plus, your kids can help out in the kitchen, so you can create your own holiday traditions and memories.

Need more convincing? This bark is no-bake, one-bowl, and entirely adaptable. Use any kind of chocolate chips you like (dark, milk, white). Swap crushed Corn Flakes for the Rice Krispies. Leave out the candy canes and do a mix of chopped dried fruit and salted nuts–apricots and pistachios are my personal favorite.  Oh, and did I mention this recipe makes more than enough for one gift, so you will have plenty of leftovers to treat yourself?

After you melt the chocolate, let your kids stir in the Rice Krispies and sprinkle on the toppings. Once it has hardened, they can help break it into pieces. I like to package it in holiday cookie tins or Chinese food take out-style boxes, which you can find at any craft store.

Crispy Peppermint Bark
Makes enough for two generous gifts

You’ll Need:

1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon coconut oil (solid, not melted) or vegetable shortening

2 cups Rice Krispies

6 candy canes, crushed

1/2 cup Mini M&Ms

Sprinkles (optional)

- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the candy canes in a large zip-top plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into small chunks. Set aside.

- Combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil or shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Stir in the Rice Krispies. Using a spatula, spread in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the crushed candy canes, mini M&Ms, and sprinkles, if using. Using a second piece of parchment paper or clean fingers, gently press the candy into the chocolate.

- Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator and chill until the chocolate is set, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sponsored Post: Maxime & Friends has a new location in Larchmont

And continues to offer gorgeous Unique Threads for Westchester's Kids

December 17, 2014

Maxime & Friends, a 2014 Best of Westchester Winner, is a family-owned children’s clothing and accessories boutique in Larchmont for boys and girls, ages newborn – ten. With unique brands from Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, France, Spain, the UK, US, and many other countries, Maxime & Friends offers an affordable and carefully curated selection of beautiful, high-quality items at their new location at 11 Addison Street.  Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll find at Maxime & Friends…

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An cxclusive collection of European party clothes for newborn-10 years, that’s as perfect as possible for any holiday or special occasion. A visit to the store to see the whole collection is a must. And this week only, 30% off for newborn-24 months! 

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Fun accessories including our favorite temporary tattoos from Tattly. They are non-toxic and have sweet styles for you too! (Check out the Gold Metallic set.) Prices range from $5-$18

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Fabulous accessories she will love: Birthday Number Necklaces, Floral bracelets, Charm Necklaces, and Pretty Bobby Pins. Prices range from $14-$36

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Adorable Scandinavian Style for boys & girls, newborn-age 10, that is only available at Maxime & Friends.

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You can’t get sweeter than the navy & gold collection from France. Available for Boys & Girls, Newborn-Age 10.

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And of course, heirloom-worthy knit outfits for baby boys & girls, ranging from $62-$100. This Week, 30% Off!

Owner, Farah, and her staff offer a personal shopping service, so please call or email for assistance at maximeandfriends@gmail.com or 914.630.0851. Shipping is available.

Maxime & Friends is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm, and Sundays, 12pm-4pm, through December. Enjoy yummy Belgian speculoos cookies and coffee in the shop on the weekends!

Follow Maxime & Friends on Facebook, Instagram (maximefriends), Twitter and Pinterest to find out about new specials starting next Saturday.

Maxime & Friends, 11 Addison Street, Larchmont. 

 

Shop Local: Westchester’s Best Toy Stores

Need a last-minute gift? Don't forget about our local toy shops.

December 16, 2014

By Jennifer Garry, who blogs at Cuddles and Chaos, and covers Northern Westchester for Wee Westchester. 

I’m a huge fan of shopping small and local. Not only does it help support the community, but more often than not you find really cool, different gifts at these little shops. For some reason though, I always struggle to shop small when it comes to kids gifts. Maybe it’s that their wish lists seem tailored to more commercialized products. Maybe it’s because a lot the small shops I frequent don’t carry much for kids.

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One thing is for sure though: it is not because Westchester is lacking in awesome toy shops. This list of fun, local toy stores will ensure that I never complain about this conundrum again!

A Nu Toy Store
This store carries a huge variety of options. You can find new toys (like LEGO and Melissa & Doug), but they also carry used toys and “used but never opened” toys collected from flea markets and church sales. They even have a vintage section where you can find your favorite childhood toy—like the old Fisher Price houses, collectible Barbies and the original Smurf toys. And they offer free gift wrapping!  (16 Main Street, Tarrytown)

Miller’s
Miller’s is a family-owned business that’s been around since their first shop opened in Harlem in 1908. They’ve been in Mamaroneck since 1948 and have become a community staple. With everything from simple American-made alphabet blocks to intricate German Waldorf dolls and bicycles to clothing, Miller’s has anything the kids on your list might need. They offer free gift wrapping as well.  (335 Mamaroneck Avenue, Mamaroneck)

Try and Buy Toys
Try and Buy is a small hands-on toy store that offers educational toys, games, dolls, arts & crafts supplies, books, dress-up clothes, and more. They also have a sizeable collection of goodies that are under $5—perfect for stocking stuffers! They too have free gift wrapping. (45 Washington Ave, Pleasantville)

Monkey Pod Games Factory Store
If you’re passionate about eco-friendly, sustainable products, this is the store for you. Monkey Pod Games offers a variety of fun and educational wooden brain teasers and handmade puzzles—many of which were developed and designed by a pair of Westchester brothers.(313 Halstead Ave, Mamaroneck)

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G. Wilikers Toys and Games
Another family-owned store, G. Wilikers has everything from plush toys, dolls and trains to throwback toys, games and eco-friendly products. You can set up a wish list for your kids and they’ll even ship gifts for the holidays! (29 Katonah Ave, Katonah)

Little Joe’s Books
Owned by a husband and wife team that curates every last piece in their shop along with their sons, Little Joe’s Books is a coffee shop and bookstore that carries 1000s of titles for all ages, as well as games, toys, gifts and baked treats. (25 Katonah Ave, Katonah)

Auntie Penny
With an old-fashioned feel that stems from the fact that it was originally a five and dime general store, Auntie Penny has kept many of the store’s original features. The shelves are filled with plenty of old-fashioned favorites mixed with new and trendy jewelry, games, and toys that kids love. From plush dolls to paracord bracelets to handmade ear warmers and fleece, the gifting options are unlimited!  (11 King Street, Chappaqua)

Sunshine and Clover (125 Grand Street, Croton-on-Hudson)
This cool store is a tween dream. Not only do they sell an eclectic collection of gifts, toys, and jewelry, but they’re also a flower shop! You can pick up anything from cute little bags and stuffed animals to temporary tattoos, nail polish and fake teeth. So much fun!

I also want to quickly mention two beloved toy stores that are closing their doors after this season: Scarsdale’s Child Play (6 Spencer Pl, Scarsdale) which has been a neighborhood staple for years and Treat Station (21 S. Division St, Peekskill) which is an awesome combination of nostalgia, pop culture and sweets—and a favorite of my girls and I. Both stores are selling everything at 50% off (at Treat Station you must pay in cash for the discount).

Do you have any favorites that we missed? Please share them in the comments!

5 Easy and (Free!) Christmas Decor Ideas

Tip one: First, go shopping in your house!

December 14, 2014

By Nadia Fantea Westchester-based architect, designer, blogger and founder of MaMeMima Design Studio

Christmas season is officially here, which means it’s time to bring out all those boxes of Christmas decorations (if you haven’t done that already!). Every year I try to change things a bit to keep the decor fresh and updated, but I prefer to work with what I have, rather than buy a slew of new decorations. Repurposing everyday items, re-using old Christmas decorations and shopping your home are great ways to dress up your house and add some extra Christmas charm. Here are five super easy, creative and (almost) free Christmas decoration ideas to recreate with items you probably already have.

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Stack books or boxes
Shop your home for books in different sizes in your color scheme, suggests Better Homes and Gardens. You can always wrap them in wrapping paper for a more unified look. Stack them, from big to small, and tie them up with a piece of big, wide ribbon. Place on a cake stand or just on top of your table. You’ll instantly have a beautiful centerpiece for your Christmas tablescape or your entry hall. This idea works perfectly with stacked boxes, too.

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Recycle branches and sticks
Digs Digs inspires with the suggestion to go outside and shop nature for some fallen branches, sticks and pinecones. Depending on your color scheme or the look you are going for, you can leave them all natural or give them a few coats of spray paint. Place and arrange them in a big vase or apothecary jars  and fill the bottom with cotton balls or pinecones and add some potpourri. Hang some small ornaments or, if placed near an outlet, add some strings of lights or just leave as is. It’ll make a striking centerpiece.

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Use Winter clothes
It may sound odd, but look at how cute it looks when Nest of Posies used some of their sweet winter clothes to add some warm and cozy feelign to your Christmas decor. Look in your closet for some chunky winter sweaters or gloves in your color scheme and display them as part of your vignettes throughout your home.

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Repurpose Pashminas or scarves
Here is a clever idea from Lushhomes to use pashminas or scarves as part of your table decor. They make the perfect table runners and, depending on the pattern, can add a cozy, wintery vibe to your table.

Reuse Christmas ornaments 
Changing your ornaments this year? No need to get rid of the old ones. Recycle them and use them to create unique centerpieces. Place on a tray around candles, or on a cake stand, combine with some pinecones or fill a glass jar with them. The possibilities are endless.

Nadia is an architect, designer, blogger and founder of MaMeMima Design Studio works with local design group AllDesignOn her lifestyle blog,MaMeMima she writes about all things kids, home and design with little snippets of her everyday life.

Sponsored Post: The Annual Menorah Lighting at Westchester’s Ridge Hill is Tuesday, December 16

A Glittering Ice Menorah will fascinate the whole family while you shop, dine and play!

December 12, 2014

If you’ve already visited the DreamWorks DreamPlace, North Pole Adventure, at Westchester’s Ridge Hill, you know that our favorite shopping mecca is truly a holiday destination for festivity, food and fun!

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 On Tuesday, December 16, the Menorah Lighting will not disappoint with a one of a kind “ice menorah” carving by Ice Artist, TJ Neary, from Touch of Ice. The ice carving will begin at 4pm with festivities including dreidel games, jelly donuts from Beigels Kosher Bakery, and seasonal piano music by Andrew Brossov, beginning at 4:30pm.

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While you’re there, check off your list at Lord & Taylor, The Apple Store, L.L. Bean and The Children’s Place, to name a few. Hungry? We love Cheesecake Factory, Bonefish Grill, Elevation Burger and Little Buddha. And if you’re with little ones, there’s Legoland Discovery Center, Showcase Cinema de Lux and of course, The North Pole Adventure, to keep everyone entertained.

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Now through December 14, Ridge Hill is participating in a seasonal toy drive to benefit three regional Boys & Girls Clubs: Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester, Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon, and Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle. All donations of new, unwrapped toys appropriate for children ages 3-12 are greatly appreciated!

Westchester’s Ridge Hill is your family’s holiday destination to make everyone smile. We’ll see you there!

Ridge Hill, One Ridge Hill Blvd, Yonkers. 

DIY Holiday Gift: Paperwhites in Mason Jars

You and your child can make these lovely teacher gifts together.

December 10, 2014

By Rebecca Robbins Pitts, a writer in Westchester. Her handmade line of custom family crests made of sustainable bamboo was recently featured in Country Living Magazine
Looking for an inexpensive and beautiful holiday gift you can make with your children? Look no further: plant and give paperwhites. These unassuming bulbs emerge as beautifully simple, white and fragrant blooms that last well into the New Year. They’re really easy to assemble, so it’s a great indoor activity you can do with a child.

Here’s what you’ll need: 
-Paperwhite narcissus bulb (available at garden centers or nurseries)
-Mason jar and lid
-Stones from the yard or marbles
-Decorative paper, ribbon, or trim
-Growing and care instructions (download the free printable here)

 

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And here’s how to put it all together…
1. Paperwhites don’t need nutrients from the soil—the bulbs can be “forced” in stones, pebbles, or even marbles. Layer the mason jar with about two inches of stones.

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2. Place the bulb, tip up, in the stones. Leave about 1″ of the bulb exposed.

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3. Add the finishing touches to your gift. Some ideas: Apply chalkboard contact paper to the top of the mason jar or use pinking shears to cut a circle from brown paper to cover the top of the jar. Add festive ribbon around the lid of the jar.

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4. Download and print the instructions for growth and care and attach to the ribbon.

Depending on your child’s age, they can help with finding stones, filling the jar, writing the holiday message, coloring the instructions, or trimming the jar with festive ribbon and paper. The finished arrangement makes for a perfect seasonal gift for a relative or teacher—one that your child will be proud to give!

Sponsored Post: FarmEats’ Recipe for Sizzling Fajitas

FarmEats provides locally farm-raised, grass fed beef delivered directly to your door.

December 9, 2014

Local Larchmont resident, Drew George, created FarmEats to make it easier and more affordable to buy local New York farm-raised, grass-fed beef. Their clean and simple website makes it easy for local Westchester County consumers to directly purchase farm products online, which are then delivered directly to your home. All of FarmEats farm partners are part of the Eat Wild community, and provide hormone & antibiotic-free meat from humanely-raised farm animals.

FarmEats also offers recipes for fun, healthy and easy ways to enjoy farm raised, grass fed beef.  Here’s one of their favorites for crowd-pleasin’ fajitas:

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FarmEats Grass Fed Sandwich Steaks are sliced paper thin.  Their 1 lb. packages can serve a family of 4.

In the morning, take a package of Grass Fed Sandwich Steak out of the freezer to defrost.

Closer to dinner time; slice up a red and green pepper, an onion, a medium fresh tomato, and a few scallions.

Take out the defrosted slices of grass fed beef and set them on a meat cutting board. Cut the beef slices into quarters.

Sautée the peppers and onions in olive oil, and leave to rest in the pan.

On the stove top, heat an iron skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper, then add the beef to the pan.  Sautée the beef for about 2 minutes, then with a pair of tongs flipped the beef over and cooked the other side for another 2 minutes.

Grate pepper jack cheese into a bowl, and warm up 8 soft corn tortillas

Put the peppers, onions, tomatoes, and beef into separate bowls, and serve them up! Serve with your favorite hot sauce, a bit of cheese, and lots of beef!

Check out FarmEats at the Main Street Market at the Westchester County Center on December 14th! Find out more at www.farmeats.com or contact Drew directly at info@farmeats.com.

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All Aboard the Christmas Train

A guide to the local Polar Express and Santa Claus Special.

December 8, 2014

By Michelle Gillan Larkin, a mom and writer living in Northern Westchester

You may think of the train as a way to get from point A to point B. A simple means to an end. But this time of year some trains become vehicles for ringing in the magic of the holidays. They’re called Christmas Trains or Santa Claus Specials, and these converted, old engines—decked out with red, velvet ribbons and tiny, blinking lights—offer festive rides to remember. An easy daytrip, plenty of Christmas trains operate less than two hours from Westchester. Here is our list of top picks, which would be much longer if tickets didn’t sell out so fast. So haul out the holly, and get on board while the gettin’s good!

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New York

Inspired by the holiday flick, The Polar Express, the Catskill Mountain Railroad runs a Christmas train of the same name out of Kingston. During the 45-minute roundtrip journey, the conductor punches tickets and chefs serve up hot chocolate, just like in the movie. There’s a sing-along and a reading of the classic book, though the high point comes when Santa Claus hops aboard with a sleigh bell for those who believe. Kids are encouraged to wear pajamas, as they did on the big screen. Trains depart day and night December 26-28 (All trains before Christmas are sold out), and the fare is $34-$43 for adults and $27-$33 for kids (ages 2-11).

New Jersey

True train enthusiasts (in the holiday spirit or not quite yet) will be tickled by the Christmas trains at The New Jersey Museum of Transportation in Wall Township. Located within Allaire State Park, the Pine Creek Railroad is one of the oldest operating narrow gauge railway exhibits in the country. For the past thirty-years, Old St. Nick rides the rails aboard the Christmas Express and Christmas Express Nights, chatting up his devotees. Trains depart almost every half hour on the weekends through December 21. The fare is $6 for the 15-minute trip.

Whisper your wish-list in the ear of the big-bellied bearded guy aboard a Santa Train run by the Tri-State Railway Historical Society. You wouldn’t be the first one—holiday revelers have been doing so for 21-years now. Step on board at the Route 23 Transit Center in Wayne for the hour-long ride just one day only, December 13. Fare is $15 for adults and $10 for kids.

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Connecticut

Get your imagination on track for a trip to Santa’s workshop aboard the Northern Lights Limited or the Santa Express run by the Naugatuck Railroad, in operation since 1845. Kris Kringle boards the vintage coaches, along with his better half and a handful of elves. Token gifts are passed out to kids during the 80-minute ride that leaves from historic Thomaston station. Trains run day and night, Friday-Sunday, through December 21. The fare is $25; kids 2 and under are free.

And now for something completely different… a trolley! Operated by the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, these cute, little streetcars date back to the late 1880’s and rattle along complete with holiday carolers. Enjoy a sojourn under the stars, or choose a covered car on a chilly night. Kids can take pictures with the guy in red at the visitor center after the three-mile journey, Friday-Sunday evenings through the end of the year. The fare is $12 for adults and $8 for kids.

Pennsylvania

An old steam train called the North Pole Express is your ticket to ride for a rollicking expedition through Bucks County. Sip hot chocolate, munch on cookies, visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and belt out your favorite holiday tunes with the help of local musicians. Conducted by the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, trains run at various times throughout the day and night between now and January 4, with trips lasting about an hour and a half. Oh, and if you find the cocoa a bit too weak, check out the bar car (chugga chugga!). The fare is $43-$68 for adults and $41-$60 for kids, with coach and first class options available.

It’s Holiday Showtime!

A round-up of the best kid-friendly holiday shows Westchester has to offer.

December 6, 2014

By Michelle Gillan Larkin, a mom and writer living in Northern Westchester

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And the best time to start filling your calendar with all the holiday shows you don’t want to miss. There’s a bundle of them across the county, but tickets go fast and seats fill up. Here’s hoping our list of top picks will help you ring in the joy and wonder of the season, ready or not!

Emelin Theater, Mamaroneck
Sit back and relax, or swing, jump, and flip along with Curious George as he celebrates his favorite holiday: “All-You-Can-Eat Meatball Day.” It comes but once a year, and it’s a day almost bigger than his birthday. Three shows: Wednesday, December 10, at 4 pm and Saturday, December 13, at 11 am and 1:30 pm. Tickets are $15. (Only the Wednesday show has tickets left!)

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From the songwriters who brought us Sesame Street, Madeline, and Strawberry Shortcake comes 27 Santas and an Elf Called Kevin, an original musical about saving the magic of Christmas. Ticket holders get a photo-op with Santa. Various show times: Wednesday-Friday, December 17-19, at 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, and 6pm; Saturday and Sunday, December 20 and 21, at 10 am, 12 pm, 2pm, 4 pm, and 6pm. Tickets are $29-$49

The Paper Bag Players are hitting the stage with a new comical musical called Hot Feet, which features dancing cookies, a runaway chicken, a talking building who refuses to be torn down, and a very mixed up family of giant tubes. Various show times: Saturday and Sunday, December 27 and 28, at 11 am and 1:30pm. Tickets are $15.

Irvington Town Hall Theater, Irvington
For families with teens, The Hip Nut offers a modern twist on The Nutcracker Suite. In this pop interpretation, traditional music reigns, but when the clock strikes midnight things change (think: Beyonce, Miley, Gaga, etc.). Two shows: Saturday, December 13, at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 14, at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $18-$20.

Paramount Hudson Valley, Peekskill
Give your little Frozen fanatics a bit of history with Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen – Live Puppet Show. This adaptation of the classic children’s fable uses larger than life puppets and vibrant sets to tell the story that gave birth to Disney’s Elsa and Anna. (Hint: They weren’t actually siblings, and neither one of them could do anything particularly special with their hands.) One show only: Sunday, December 7, at 3 pm. Tickets are $20.

27 Santas and an Elf Called Kevin, listed above, can also be seen at this venue at various show times: Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14, at 1 pm and 3:30pm. Tickets are $29 and $39, and include a photo op with Santa.

The Colonial Nutcracker is a full-length ballet, yet it’s recommended for the 4 and older set. An annual holiday tradition, the production is complete with a red-coated mouse army and an enchanted nutcracker prince. One show only: Saturday, December 20, at 3 pm. Tickets are $26.

Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown
The Laurie Berkner Band will perform a holiday celebration concert featuring festive seasonal favorites and original songs about Christmas and Hanukah. Berkner—a former preschool music teacher by day and indie rocker by night—has been called “a kind of sippy-cup Sheryl Crow.” One show only: Sunday, December 14, at 1 pm. Tickets are $35, or $100 for premium seats.

Beloved bunny siblings Max & Ruby star in one of the greatest musical scores ever composed. And, although it’s not clear what Tchaikovsky would say about Max & Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite, it’s a safe bet the kids will dig it. It’s Christmas Eve, and the imaginative bunnies are whisked away to a magical land where they become characters in the ballet. One show only: Thursday, December 18, at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $30.

Westchester Broadway Theater, Elmsford
A new take on an old, beloved classic, Another Night Before Christmas is an hour-long family musical filled with lovable elves and holiday magic. Various show times: Saturdays, December 13 and 20, at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. Tickets are $17.

Sponsored Post: Beth El Day Camp in New Rochelle Promises your Campers will be Happy

Mark your calendar for their National Cupcake Day Celebration on Monday, December 15

December 5, 2014

It’s not too early to start thinking about your summer plans and that means summer camp! Beth El Day Camp in New Rochelle will be offering it’s highly-regarded summer camp program for its 64th year from June 29-August 14 for children ages 2-8. Accredited by the American Camp Association, Beth El Day Camp has an unrivaled staff-camper ratio and is known for their nurturing environment, cutting edge programming and commitment to safety.

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Beth El Day Camp is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill summer camp. Their programs span a wide range of guided activities to help young children develop new skills, make friends, build self-esteem, and develop a love for creativity and self-expression. Children participate in a multitude of sports and games including soccer, softball, and basketball. Music, dancing, karate concepts, magic, cooking and crafts are also offered, in addition to their creative nature program.  Children swim twice a day in the large solar-heated pool as part of their American Red Cross Swim program. And theme days like Truck Day, Olympics and the  famous Carnival Day – are just some of the summer highlights at Camp Beth El.

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The kids are sure to work up an appetite, and Camp Beth El does not fall short when it comes to food! Nutritious (kosher) lunches are served every day, including barbecues and snacks in the air-conditioned lunchroom.  There is something for even the pickiest palate, and the entire camp is nut-free. There is even a gluten-free (worry-free!) menu available. Every Friday, campers are treated to grape juice and freshly baked challah to celebrate Shabbat.

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There are customized half-day, extended-day and full-day programs available by age groups.  The 2-year-old program meets 3 mornings/week from 9am-noon.  The 3-year-old program runs Monday-Friday, 8:40am-1pm, and includes lunch.  The 4-year-old program runs Monday-Friday from 8:40am to either 2:15pm or 4pm.  And children ages 5-7 will enjoy a full day of fun!

The Beth El Day Camp National Cupcake Day Celebration is running Monday, December 15th, 9 AM-5 PM, so stop by (no appointment necessary!) to pick up a box of delicious, kosher, freshly baked cupcakes! Gluten-free and dairy free options available.  To participate, submit a $500 deposit on or by 12/15.  

An early bird discount is available through February 10th, so don’t delay!  For further information, please contact Julie Rockowitz, Director, Beth El Day Camp at (914) 235-2700 ext. 256 and/or JRockowitz@Bethelnr.org.

Beth El Day Camp, 1324 North Avenue, New Rochelle, www.betheldaycamp.org

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December Happy List

Places to go, things to see and what to do this holiday season.

December 4, 2014

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There are so many ways to ring in the holiday season this year, you better get planning. Here, December’s Happy List.

One-Of-A-Kind Gift
The Scarsdale Woman’s Exchange has a lovely idea for a grandparent gift: A silhouette of their grandchild. Bring your little one into their Scarsdale Village storefront on December 7 between 10am to 6pm for a hand-cut keepsake drawn by local artists; $30 per child. Advanced reservations required; for appointment, call 914-723-4728.

Light Up the Night
Take a twilight tour of Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison this holiday season. During Sparkle, Boscobel’s holiday lights events, the federal-style house will host several illuminated nights of light displays around the stunning grounds of the mansion. There are ice carving demonstrations, candlelit paths and even a spot to say hello to Santa and his elves. Adults are $15; kids are $10. Children under 3 are free. Check calendar for specific offerings each night. Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm to 9pm.

Meet the Main Street Market
Don’t miss  visit to the Main Street Market on Sunday, December 14 at the Westchester County Center. The market, an indoor farmer’s market and holiday gift market in one, has everything from gourmet cheeses and pickles to jewelry and homemade sops. One of our favorite local toy shops, Monkey Pod Games in Mamaroneck, will also be on hand selling unique play things. Definitely worth a stop. Additional dates are Jan. 18, Feb. 8 and March 22, 2015. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Trees That Tell a Story
The Bartow Pell Mansion Museum in Pelham Bay Park is unveiling a Storybook Christmas for the holiday season. Think: Eight Christmas trees inspired by children’s books (like Eric Carle’a Dream Snow and Ezra Jack Keats’s A Snowy Day) have been decorated by a roster of impressive Manhattan interior designers. See the trees on Saturday, December 6 during the mansion’s Annual Family Day, when the house opens up to the public with storytelling, crafts, caroling, shopping, gifts and a meet-and-greet with Santa. You can also check out the trees anytime with admission to the museum through January 5.

Speaking of one-of-a-kind Christmas Trees: The American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side has an Origami Holiday Tree exhibit this month. This year’s tree highlights over 800 characters from the Night at the Museum movies, like folded models of Theodore Roosevelt, T-Rex, turtles, jellyfish, and more. The kids will be in awe. Running through January 11.

Let There Be Bubbles
What kid wouldn’t go nuts for something called a Gazillion Bubble Show? In the city this month at New World Stages (50th and 9 Avenue) is the first and only showcase of bubble artistry. Just imagine a performance where the theater is filled with thousands of bubble configurations, lasers and lights. With lots of daytime shows (11am, 2pm and 4:30pm on Saturdays; 12pm and 3pm on Sundays), it’s nap-friendly too. Check local GroupOn for sales.

Holidays on the Hill
It’s Holidays on the Hill at Lasdon Park and Arboretum. First, there’s a train show that takes kids on a “ride” from Metro North up to the village of Katonah, where they’ll watch the trains pass through Christmas Town. A new “Elf Adventure Tractor Ride” will bring visitors on an interactive journey through the woods hunting for Santa’s elves. Plus, a spot to buy Christmas trees, wreaths and hot cocoa. The events take place weekends 2pm to 7pm; see calendar here.

Frosty Fest’s Light Show Delights
Every weekend in December, bring the kids to Frosty Fest, located at Headless Horseman Hayrides. At this interactive holiday event in Ulster, you can stroll down Candy Cane Lane, take a hayride through Frosty’s Enchanted Forest light display, walk through a 3-D Frosty’s Magical Adventure, visit Santa in the North Pole or go to one of two stage shows: Twinkle’s Toy Trouble and Jingle & Jangle Magic & Comedy. $12 adults; $9 children under 12

 

Sponsored Post: Bright Horizons at TimberRidge unveils their newly enriched programs and spaces

Don't miss the Renovation Celebration on December 11 at 5pm!

December 3, 2014

Bright Horizons at TimberRidge in Armonk is ready to unveil its recent makeover and you’re invited!

timberridge_exterior

They have a fresh coat of paint and have added these exciting new features:

  • Movement Matters Zone with ballet bar and rock climbing wall
  • Art Studio
  • Outdoor science lab
  • Plus, a new SmartBoard in their Kindergarten Prep classroom.

Please join them on Thursday, December 11th from 5:00 – 6:30pm for their Renovation Celebration! Enjoy family yoga, rock climbing, creative painting, science experiments, SMARTboard demonstrations, and interactive music. There will even be a healthy dinner prepared by their chef! Plus, you’ll get to meet the teachers and learn more about their year-round Infant, Toddler, Preschool and Kindergarten Prep programs.

Can’t make the celebration? They’re also having a week long Open House. Stop by anytime between 7:00am – 6:30pm from December 8th through December 12th.

Attend either event and receive a $100 tuition credit when you register by 12/31/14! See director for details.

For more information visit their Facebook page or www.brighthorizons.com/timberridgeRCwee.

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Bright Horizons at TimberRidge Family Center15 Old Post Road, Armonk. 

Featured Gift Guide: LOL Kids Armonk

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Looking for exceptional gifts that will make kids squeal and moms swoon? Look no further than LOL Kids Armonk, a small European childrenswear luxury boutique located in the heart of Armonk, NY. With sizes for infants through teens, they carry upscale yet wearable fashions from well-known Italian powerhouse labels such as Monnalisa as well as lesser-known, hip [...]

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Westchester Holiday Tree Lighting Guide

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By Jennifer Garry, who blogs at Cuddles and Chaos, and covers Northern Westchester for Wee Westchester.  Nothing puts me in the holiday spirit quite like gathering around a big, glittering Christmas tree with my friends and family. Add some hot cocoa and Christmas music to the mix and it’s downright blissful. If you’re looking to check out a [...]

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Thanksgiving Don’ts For A Drama-Free Day

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I was listening to an NPR report the other day about what NOT to do on Thanksgiving Day. It made me chuckle, so I had to share some of the tips: -Don’t invite family over at noon and serve dinner at 4pm. Too much time to drink in between, which means there’s too much time [...]

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Decorate Your Thanksgiving Table…

November 25, 2014

By Nadia Fante, a Westchester-based architect, designer, blogger and founder of MaMeMima Design Studio. Last year we hosted our first Thanksgiving at home. I don’t cook (at least not to host a thanksgiving dinner yet) but my parents were in town and my mom, who is an awesome cook, kindly offered to take over in the kitchen. [...]

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